Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of mom at birthday party

DYERSBURG, Tenn. (AP) — The mother of a 2-year-old boy was fatally shot during his birthday party and seven others were wounded when a man from a neighboring town opened fire at the gathering in western Tennessee, police said.

Torius Saville Russell, 30, was arrested early Friday and charged with first-degree murder in the shooting, said Dyersburg Police Chief Steven Isbell. Shanice Amerson, 21, died and seven others, including a 6-year-old, were wounded in the shooting, which was reported to police about 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The victims were celebrating the birthday of Amerson’s 2-year-old son when a man walked up and opened fire, Isbell told a news conference Friday.

Russell, who lived in the nearby town of Ripley, had been at the residence earlier in the day in a disturbance reported to police, Isbell said. When officers responded, residents said a white vehicle with multiple occupants had just left, the chief said. When officers found the vehicle, they searched it but found no weapons.

Isbell said Russell was in the vehicle at the time, but was alone when he returned to the home a couple of hours later on foot.

“This just started out as a celebration for a 2-year-old child,” he said. “Now this child will celebrate no more birthdays with his mother. That’s something that should be upsetting to us all.”

Isbell said police are trying to determine Russell’s relationship to the victims. He declined to release a possible motive.

Russell was arraigned Friday and given a $2.5 million bond. His next court hearing is set for Nov. 28.

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